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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Old jail meets its end

1890s jailhouse was on the National Register of Historic Places

Keith Vandervort
Posted 4/9/21

WINTON-The former city jail here, built in the 1890s, met its demise last week when the brick landmark toppled in a cloud of dust as the owner demolished the building.Kathie Hill bought the property …

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Old jail meets its end

1890s jailhouse was on the National Register of Historic Places

Posted

WINTON-The former city jail here, built in the 1890s, met its demise last week when the brick landmark toppled in a cloud of dust as the owner demolished the building.
Kathie Hill bought the property and building from the city of Winton last fall with the understanding that she would tear down the building within a year.
With the spring came the demolition project. Not much effort was required to bring down the building.
“It didn’t take long at all,” Hill said. “There was lots of dust and in about a half hour, it was down.”
Her son, Tim, was clearing brush from the site last Friday.
“The mortar between the bricks just fell apart and the building was soon just a pile of rubble,” he said. Kids were helping to pile the salvageable bricks to give away to Winton residents.
The Winton landmark, at the corner of Third and River streets, was once the Old City Jail. It served as a storage building for the town’s Christmas displays for many years before being abandoned. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Hill said they plan to add a storage building on their new property purchased from the city, located next to their house and Caterpillar Club House Child Care business.
“We are going to wait because the lumber prices are so high right now,” she said. “After we clear the jail rubble we will seed the land and wait until next year.”
Winton residents are welcome to come to the site to gather bricks for repurposing.
“We have had a couple of folks gathering the bricks to use them for other projects,” Hill said.
Winton officials had looked into renovating the landmark, but the building was too old and run down to make the effort feasible. City officials (without Geraldo Rivera) gathered last October to open an old safe that was still in the structure and revealed the contents.
“It was a jail, so maybe there are guns in the thing or old ammunition or old files,” said former Winton operations manager Terry Jackson in the video posted to Facebook.
City council member Lee Tessier, and Winton City Clerk Anne Jackson and current utility supervisor Destin Anderson were also at the reveal event.
“Whatever is in the safe is at least 125 years old,” Jackson said at the time.
Old surveying records, a newspaper clipping dated from 1912, oath of office records from 1958, a 1912 liquor license application, keys, a pistol box, and other brittle documents were found.

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